WASHINGTON, D.C. | January 16, 2023 – Today, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC), in conjunction with Protect our Defenders, Modern Military Association of America, Whistleblowers of America, and Walk the Talk Foundation, sent a letter to President Biden calling for him to recognize the courageous work of whistleblower Commander Kimberly Young-McLear. NWC and its partners urged President Biden to further acknowledge the critical importance of all whistleblowers in defending the integrity of our democracy by recognizing July 30th of every year as a Federal Day of Observance, National Whistleblower Appreciation Day.
Commander Young-McLear, Ph.D., is a whistleblower who exposed gross and unlawful misconduct at the Coast Guard, where she is currently on active duty in her 19th year of service. She has previously served as Special Assistant to the cabinet Secretary of Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security as an advisor on both domestic and international issues. She has advocated for increasing internal equity within the Coast Guard by opposing discriminatory prohibitions on dreadlocks and natural hair styles for Black women on active duty, as well as implementing protections for LGBTQ+ members of the Coast Guard.
In 2014, Commander Young-McLear became a whistleblower by reporting systemic abuses of power at the highest levels of the Coast Guard. As a result of her courage, integrity, and advocacy, the Coast Guard has since implemented more than 30 policy improvements.
In spite of her years of service to the nation and selfless advocacy against misconduct and discrimination, Commander Young-McLear has faced retaliation for her whistleblowing, and continues to suffer from egregious psychological harm.
“Whistleblowers like Commander Kimberly Young-McLear are part of a prestigious group of incredible federal employees and service members who have suffered retaliation all while continuing to make significant contributions to our collective well-being.” Said Siri Nelson, Executive Director at National Whistleblower Center. “We all owe a debt of gratitude to whistleblowers like Commander Young-McLear and NWC is proud to call on the President to take meaningful steps to show that whistleblowers are and will continue to be a core priority in our Nation’s fight against corruption and for the protection of democratic values.”
“We hear much rhetoric today from our nation’s leadership about confronting future threats outside our geographic borders, but the imminent danger to the defense of our nation is here and it is now, and it is being carried out by Americans on other Americans.” Said Ryan Sweazy, President at Walk the Talk Foundation. “Retribution and reprisal are real, as is the mission degradation caused by alienating and disenfranchising talented members of our Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. If we aim to be able to confront future threats to our democracy, we must confront the current ones now!”
“Recognizing the important role Whistleblowers play to our social and economic safety and security can be the best course of action in reducing stigma and retaliation. Whistleblowers of America is proud to join any effort that calls on our nation to support those of serve the public interest.” Said Jacqueline Garrick, LCSW-C, President of Whistleblowers of America.
The letter from this group of federal employee advocates calls on President Biden to acknowledge the bravery of Commander Young-McLear and send a message to the federal community that bullying of those who speak out against wrongdoing, discrimination, and harassment will not be tolerated. President Biden instead has the power to recognize bravery of Commander Young-McLear by granting her justice for her actions and service and send a message nationwide that whistleblowers are critical to fighting discrimination and upholding America’s institutions and ideals.
NWC Executive Director Siri Nelson is available for comment. For more information, contact NWC at email@example.com.